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Original Content Coming To Xbox Live

Who needs Internet TV? The New York Times is reporting that Microsoft just hired a Hollywood producer to create programming that will initially only run on the Xbox 360 console. Its first major deal --"the first of many," according to Scott Nocas, the global marketing manager for Xbox Live--is with the Safran Company, a Hollywood talent manager representing the producers of such films as "Monster's Ball" and "My Big Fat Greek Wedding."

Safran co. founder Peter Safran told the Times that the first round of programs would be scripted, and would run under 10 minutes. His group plans to focus on comedy and horror--genres that appeal to Xbox Live's core 18-34 male demographic. The first slate of shows should be available by the fall.

Exactly why does Microsoft--a company that has tried and failed to reach audiences on the Web--think the walled-garden approach to content distribution will fare any better? You have to ask yourself, will consumers even be using the Xbox 360 in three years? Many analysts have predicted that this will be the last cycle for video game consoles before gaming moves permanently to the Web.

With just 10 million total users, the Safran Co. and others aren't looking at Hollywood-size audiences. Gamers have to pay either through activities on the system or through credits purchased by cash to watch TV shows and films on Xbox Live. This means the original content isn't free to watch, and will be competing with downloadable games as well as big-budget films and TV shows for users' credits.

Read the whole story at The New York Times »

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